KCBS Cover Story: Ferry Service Will Ramp Up If BART Strike Occurs

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – As negotiations are ongoing and the stalemate continues between Bay Area Rapid Transit officials and its labor unions, commuters are having to plan ahead for a possible strike.

During the early July BART strike, 12,000 riders switched from trains to ferries, taking advantage of increased ferry service

“We were hard-pressed. And in this case, if we have more riders, we’re going to be hard-pressed again,” said Ernest Sanchez with San Francisco Bay Ferry.

He said that’s because the last strike occurred during the week of July 4, while a walkout this time would occur during a full-on commute, with more people likely opting for ferry service.

“We looked at the program we provided on July 1st and 2nd and then we’ve tried to adjust that schedule in the way we put our vessels to be more efficient,” said Sanchez.

Boats that depart to and from Oakland, Alameda and Vallejo will operate more frequently during morning and afternoon commute hours if there is a strike. At Oakland, an early boat will depart at 5:30 a.m. and one will leave Vallejo at 5:00 a.m.

Golden Gate Transit is offering up its docks at the San Francisco Ferry Terminal so Bay Ferries can load and unload more quickly. And the North Bay service is also bringing over two of its ferries to supplement service from Oakland and Alameda.

Bus service will also help commuters get around

One service that commuters may want to avoid is in Larkspur, where the parking lots already fill up early and there is very little additional capacity on the boats.

Ferry officials said there will likely be long lines at the docks, but if you have a Clipper card, it will help. “We would recommend that people be patient and expect there to be a wait,” said Sanchez.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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